We report on recent improvements of the laser performance of the diode-pumped solid state laser system POLARIS. With the commissioning of a new amplification stage using Yb:CaF2 as the active medium we achieved a pulse energy of 16.6 J which is to our knowledge the highest pulse energy for a broadband diode pumped laser system so far. After installation of a second CPA-stage with a nonlinear XPW-filter we improved the temporal contrast for the ASE to a value of 2.5×1011 before the main pulse. Furthermore, the pulse duration of the full amplified laser pulses could be shortened from formerly 164 fs to 145 fs due to the spectral broadening of the XPW.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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